Ancestors and the Beloved Dead

The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was: The Blue Fairy Book

One way or another, fairies have a strong connection to the dead and the spirit world that the dead exist in. And it is in that regards, the fairy doctors need to have an understanding of the dead and not just of the fair folk.

Fairy Doctors were not only called upon to aid the victims of fairy treatment, but they also could bridge communication between the living and the dead that existed along side the Gentry in their lands. Biddy Early was said to speak with mothers and offer them a chance to see their children that were taken away by the fairies before they had a chance to truly live in this mortal plane.

There were times that fairy doctors were even called upon to rescue people from the fairies either to return to the mortal realm or be able to go to heaven. It was in these cases the fairy doctors advised the loved ones to call this person from fairy and when their spirit appeared to throw dust upon them, or even to sneak into a fairy rath with poppies and a dagger to keep the doorway open.

More often, fairy doctors would use their ability to communicate with the dead to aid, heal, and protect individuals from fairies. One great example of this is called the fighting of friends, ” Some fairy healers refered to the “fighting of friends” in their diagnosis and treatment of illness. People believed that the fairies were sometimes divided over whether they should harm or abduct particular living persons or leave them alone….Fairies from one county or parish, for example, might make a foray into a neighboring area to abduct humans or cattle and be confronted by the fairy host in residence there. And community members who were believed to have been abducted by the fairies could intercede on behalf of the living,” (Away with the Fairies – Wise folk, Healing, And the Otherworld).

It is from this, the fairy doctor should recognize and honor their own ancestors and beloved dead, whether they be a human spirit or have transformed into the fairies themselves. It is something more for ourselves versus something that would be used to aid our clients. Of course an altar should be set to aid in the communication with the client’s ancestors; however, the use of a personal shrine and altar can offer ourselves more protection as well.

The beloved dead are the spirits of those who had loved us and had known us. They wish to protect us and teach us. From these bonds, they will interfere when fairies seek to harm.

The layout for the shrine or altar can be relatively simple. It typically includes an object that belonged to the person, a photo of them, or something that is tied to them to make connection to you far easier.

If none of these can be obtained, a simple candle with their name written on it will do.

Its important to acknowledge them for their hard work and thank them for their protection and love. This can simply be done with a plate of food or a favorite object of theirs.


3 thoughts on “Ancestors and the Beloved Dead

  1. Good to see the fairies acknowledged here in all their aspects – not just the too coomon sentimental version of them but also, sometimes, as the bad guys and the need for cunning men and wise women who knew how to deal with them. These are the ancestors of our tradition.


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